February 22, 1999 4:00 AM PST

Net radio firm spins MP3

Web radio company Spinner is taking a step into the often controversial world of MP3.

Spinner uses streaming media to "broadcast" music from an array of genres. The company now is extending its offerings to allow its users to download and save music files on their computers.

Spinner founder and chief executive Dave Samuel said the company will license the music from the recording industry before making it available for download.

"Assuming that we'll have the license to use the song, we will have a button for the user to download it," he said.

MP3 is an audio compression format that allows users to download music tracks and save them onto a PC hard drive. Due to its popularity among Netizens, the format has become what some consider a de facto standard for music downloads.

Even offline radio firms are beginning to embrace MP3. NBG Radio Network, which runs a number of affiliate radio stations, last week said it would make its programs available for download using MP3.

"[MP3] provides See related Newsmaker: Michael Robertson an expedient alternative to receiving our programming by mail or via satellite and can even facilitate the replacement of any show damaged in transit," Robert Taylor, director of operations for NBG, said in a statement. "Employing MP3 through the Internet will expand product awareness and increase revenue.''

However, the technology has also caused an uproar in the recording industry because it is not secure and thus is the format of choice for music pirates.

In response to recording industry concerns, Samuel said Spinner will not limit itself to simply the MP3 format. "We are monitoring different technologies that exist out there, and also researching the different download technologies such as Liquid Audio and a2b," he said.

Spinner recently was in talks to be acquired by MTV, but sources said the talks dissolved after the two parties were unable to agree on a price. MTV is expected to announce a partnership with another Net radio firm soon.

 

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